Traditional Japanese clothing is no longer just for people living in Japan. More people overseas wear samue and jinbei as their relaxing wear while staying in and an outer layer when going out.

For people who are new to traditional Japanese clothing, it is sometimes difficult to tell the differences between samue and jinbei. Although both of them are similar in style to kimono, they are much easier to wear and more comfortable.

Hopefully, this blog will be a guide for you to understand what the differences and similarities are between the two. Some of the important things you will want to know are the types of materials used to make samue and/or jinbei, the unique designs of both, which occasions you wear them, the price range, and more.



The first difference between samue and jinbei is the design. The upper half of the samue has longer three-quarter length sleeves and long pants. Whereas, the jinbei are the opposite with short sleeves on the jacket and shorts on the bottom.

Strings and Knots

On the pants of samue, you’d find strings or elastic bands to tie the bottom of each leg. As the bottom half of a jinbei is short, there is of course no need for this feature. It’s also worth mentioning that some modern samue have elastic bands at the end of the sleeves on the jacket as well as the pants. This is so that they don't get caught while doing daily chores. This isn’t required for jinbei as the sleeves are short.

Ventilation Slits

The next design difference is that jinbei have ventilation slits near the shoulder, while samue don't. These slits were originally added to keep the person wearing them cool and comfortable in the humid summer months in Japan.

Depending on the brand, this part will be made with cotton yarn knitting or ladder-shaped lacing to create the ventilation gap. The former is a traditional way of making the slits while the latter is the more popular option with modern jinbei. You can find both options available when shopping from our jinbei selection.

Apart from these three main differences, the samue and jinbei designs are quite similar. They both have pockets on both sides of the pants and depending on the manufacturer you can also find another pocket on the back of the pants and sometimes even one on the jacket.


When it comes to materials used for samue and jinbei, they are actually quite similar. As jinbei are worn in the summer and are more informal than samue, they are made of lighter materials to keep the person wearing them cool.

You can also find lightweight samue for summer, but the key difference between the two is that samue also use thicker materials for those that are meant to be worn in the colder months.

While traditional samue and jinbei were mostly made from cotton, hemp, or a blend of the two, there are other materials used as well. For example, polyester has been often used recently and is great for being wrinkle-resistant and easy to wash.

Wasuian and some other brands also offer denim samue and jinbei which can be a nice alternative if you’re not looking for traditional materials.


Samue have a larger range of materials since they can be worn all year round. You can find light options for the summer months like with jinbei, as well as thicker materials for the fall or winter months.

For example, our Wool-like stretch samue is made from polyester that is 0.66mm in thickness, whereas the standard thickness for jinbei and summer samue is around 0.2 to 0.3mm. Some of the thickest samue that we offer for the colder months use fabric up to 1.42mm in thickness.

When and Where to Wear Samue and Jinbei


As you might have gathered from the differences in design and materials, there are also differences in the times and places to wear samue and jinbei. Samue can be worn all year round, while jinbei are intended to be worn in summer.

If you plan to wear a samue in summer, then you’ll want to pick one that is thin enough to keep you cool, otherwise, it’s best to wear a jinbei.


Also, some people would choose to wear their samue and jinbei at home, as an alternative to comfortable relaxing clothing, rather than to wear it outside of the house. That said, in Japan, you’ll find many men, women, and children wearing jinbei at summer festivals across the country instead of the traditional yukata.

So, there’s no reason to stop you from wearing your samue and jinbei in public for any occasion.


One of the main differences between samue and jinbei is that samue were first worn by Buddhist monks. It is the more versatile of the two as it can be worn in many situations. To this day, monks wear samue, and occasionally you can see waiters, waitresses, artisans, and other professionals in Japan wearing samue as well.


Another difference between samue and jinbei is the price range. Samue are generally more expensive as more materials are required to make them. This adds to the amount of time and work needed in the manufacturing process.

While the lowest-priced samue and jinbei are similar in price, our higher-end samue options are almost double the price of the most expensive jinbei. This is because our more expensive samue models are often made with thicker and finer materials which naturally cost more.

Whichever You Choose, Wasuian Has You Covered

That’s all for our Samue and Jinbei guide. Now, we hope you have a better understanding of what the differences are between the two, as well as their similarities.

If you’re looking for Japanese clothing on a budget, to wear only in the warm summer months, then it’s best to pick a jinbei. Any of our jinbei products will keep you cool with their short sleeves, shorts, and ventilation slits near the shoulders.

However, if you want to buy something versatile that you can wear year-long, then light to mid-weight samue are the best option. Even with the long pants and long sleeves, it’s still extremely comfortable to wear. No matter which one you go with, you can find the best fit for you here at Wasuian.


Can samue and jinbei be worn casually?

Yes, samue and jinbei can both be worn casually either at home when relaxing or even outside in public. While jinbei are known for being worn mainly in summer, samue are casually worn throughout the entire year in many different situations.

Are samue and jinbei comfortable?

Samue and jinbei are extremely comfortable as they’re known for being outfits to relax in. Some people even wear them instead of pajamas. The slits just below the shoulder on the jinbei also allow for added ventilation making it comfortable and cool during the hot seasons. Samue are also worn as pajamas the rest of the year once it gets a bit colder.

What are samue and jinbei made of?

Samue and jinbei are made from a range of different materials. The most popular are the traditional materials like cotton, hemp (ramie), or a combination of the two. You will also find both samue and jinbei made from polyester. As well as these materials, you’ll also find some brands that use denim. Please refer to this article summarizing the different fabrics used:

How do you wash samue and jinbei?

The method to wash your samue and jinbei will vary depending on the material. The washing label inside the garment will explain to you which methods can and can’t be used.

Ideally, you should put your samue or jinbei in a laundry net first before washing them in the washing machine. This will stop any strings from getting caught in the machine and will also lower the risk of tearing the clothing.

It’s also best to have the machine on the lowest spin setting, as this step can cause some materials to shrink. Also, never use the tumble dryer as the heat could cause your samue or jinbei to shrink as well.

We have a dedicated article on how to wash and care for your samue and jinbei, so please make sure to read that before you wash yours for the first time.

Can you sleep in samue and jinbei?

Samue and jinbei can both be used to sleep in, and it’s now quite common to find hotels in Japan that offer them instead of yukata. Jinbei are better to wear during hot summer nights, as the design allows for more airflow compared to samue. That said, jinbei won’t give you the same warmth as samue does in the colder months.

Tags: Jinbei Samue